'I hope other abuse victims speak out', says brave Laura as stepdad jailed for 2 years
A brave young woman who was sexually assaulted by her stepfather as a child has today urged other victims not to be afraid to contact gardai.
Laura Johnston, now in her 20s, made the plea after George Crombie (47) was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Crombie, with an address in Bloomfield Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight counts of sexually assaulting Laura in their Ringsend home between February 2004 and December 2006 when she was aged between 10 and 13 years old.
Speaking through a spokesperson, Laura said she was satisfied the case was now over.
"I feel justice has been done and I'm glad the case is over and I just want to move on with my life now," she said.
"I also urge others who have been the victims of sexual assault to go to gardai or to someone they trust and tell them about it.
"People in such circumstances should now feel confidence in the legal system and have no fear in coming forward."
During the case it was heard that Crombie had a knife stuck in the waistband of his pyjama bottoms during one assault and told Ms Johnston there would be "murder in this flat" if she told her mother about the abuse, which took place over a three-year period.
The court also heard Crombie put a dog lead around his stepdaughter's neck while sexually assaulting her as a child.
Last week Laura read her victim impact statement to the court in which she condemned Crombie for "betraying her trust and love in him".
The court heard she wished to waive her right to anonymity.
Yesterday Judge Melanie Greally said it was clear Crombie was satisfying a particular sexual fetish during the assaults and referred to the use of the dog lead as "extremely frightening" and "degrading".
She said Ms Johnston had regarded Crombie as her natural father and that as such the "breach of trust was monumental" before she described the abuse as both "unrelenting" and "predictable", occurring every Thursday and Saturday.
Judge Greally said it was clear that Ms Johnston would continue to struggle with the "premature loss of innocence" and "blight on her childhood that can never be removed".
She acknowledged that Crombie had made admissions and spared his victim a trial before she imposed concurrent sentences totalling two-and-a-half years.
During the hearing it was said that Crombie had been with Ms Johnston's mother since she was a small child and Ms Johnston had a number of younger half-siblings.
Ms Johnston thought Crombie was her real father until aged 10, when her mother told her he was her stepfather.
When told the news, Ms Johnston showed her support for Crombie by ripping up the birth certificate that said he was not her real father.
However, he then began acting differently towards her and started questioning her about her friends and boys.
Crombie started going into her bedroom when her mother and siblings were asleep and touching Ms Johnston while she was lying in bed, the court heard. The abuse happened every Thursday and Saturday when he had been out drinking.